June 21st was Father’s Day. According to Wikipedia, it is a day of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds as well as the influence of fathers in society. This day tends to creep up on me every year. It has far much less fanfare compared to Mother’s Day and I’m sure that’s not a surprise to many. Mothers are naturally more visible and their impact on humanity seems louder than that of fathers. These comparisons have led to animated conversations with my friends on who is the weaker gender. I have my opinion on this but I need to keep the peace so I will leave it here he he.
Over the years Father’s Day has been marked by my baby sharks giving me those homemade multi colored cards. I feel their love every time I receive them. Last year the dads in my church received a pair of socks each. That was original. I liked it. Covd19 has unleashed the hidden talents in my house. Most notably mummy sharks’ culinary skills. Last Sunday she treated me and her dad to a VVIP lunch. It was her way of celebrating us. That food tasted and looked like it was straight from those BBC food channels. Thank you mama. I think I just might finally add weight by the time corona is over.
As a father I have often felt like my efforts and contributions don’t matter much. I think its because society expects you to do a lot of stuff but little recognition comes your way. Many times, when a man doesn’t come through for one reason or another he’s judged harshly by society (including his fellow men). We probably make it worse on ourselves by having weak or non-existent support systems. When life is good we are busy feeding the ruthless alpha male within us to ensure we are ahead of the pack at all costs. So when ‘fish’ hits the fan it’s a long lonely fall. Unlike ladies who have perfected the art of rising together. Often when one of them falls behind they all rally around her to nudge her on.
This season has altered my view of fatherhood. I’m spending almost all my time at home with my brood. I have always loved being a father. Infact being a dad has been my anchor over the last six years as I sought a new life of significance. Everything was uncertain apart from being a father to my three baby sharks. My business has been closed since March so I can’t floss much with work and achievements as we men like to. I have been reduced to a lousy school teacher (one student is already suspended from school he he), a wannabe laptop and Wi-Fi technician, a plumber and a helper to my wife (sounds odd but its somehow true).
If 50% of success is showing up then I must be at the top of my class. I’m in my people’s face 24/7. Men are supposed to provide for their families emotionally, spiritually and materially. Material provision is big for us and when we are struggling in that department then the other areas of provision tend to suffer too. I have worked hard on self-improvement in this season so that future opportunities can find me prepared. My prayer is that that will improve my ability to provide more materially.
For now, all I can do is give my clan what money can’t buy and that’s their father. Usually that doesn’t come with a red-carpet recognition and camera flashes. That’s just how parenting is. My mum often reminds me that It’s my turn to pay so no sympathies from her. As a parent you do a ton of work but no one seems to notice. Only years later do we see the fruit of our labor in the caliber of global citizens we have raised.
Father’s Day this year had even less thrills. No huge marketing campaigns attached to it for businesses to cash in on. Maybe that’s a good thing because being a good dad is determined by what we do when no one is watching. Well apart from our totos. They are the best judges of what kind of father we are to them. This lockdown season has stripped off all the things I do to make my parenting look cool. For instance, we didn’t have a bash for my baby shark two weeks ago on her birthday. We are down to the bare essentials. Some tea and queen cakes did the trick and the simplicity made it special. And thankfully cheap too.
As much as it may look plain being a dad in this season, we probably are being re calibrated as parents so that we become hugely aware of what’s important. And that’s our small people and our families. I feel like I’m being anchored deeper in this season so that I don’t forget what’s really important especially when the flood gates of plenty swing open. I can smell the rain folks.
Guys may we always remember to keep our priorities upright with being a dad up there on the list. May this season reinforce that order so that when we get back to wearing power suits, raising our glasses at cocktails and chasing deals we will not suffer amnesia and sacrifice those called by our names on the altar of acquiring.
Maybe we should also invent a new version of fatherhood to go with the new normal that we are expecting. For me that would include keeping my baby sharks close as I chase the deals. Maybe I should chase the deals with them too. Don’t kids learn more by observation? To kids quality time is quantity time. It doesn’t matter much what we are doing as long as we are doing it with them.
Do not be surprised when our families say the best season of their lives was covid19. And that’s because they didn’t have to compete for their dad’s time and attention. Having said that though my prayer remains that things open up because we can’t put ketchup on time together and have it for dinner.
Happy belated Father’s Day fellas. Let’s keep working as best as we can because the fruit of our work will grow on our children’s trees.